July 28, 2016, 5:17 pm
According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Kevin Durant denied earlier reports that he had told Russell Westbrook or Nick Collison that he planned on returning to the Thunder.
“It’s false,” Durant said. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it…I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
Stories have swirled since July 4th about Durant and Westbrook’s relationship, with Howard Beck of Bleacher Report reporting that Durant had grown frustrated with Westbrook’s style of play. Beck quoted a source close to KD as saying: “Ultimately, [Durant] got frustrated and felt that they had plateaued… He still had the same issues that he had with Russ under Scotty. The offense didn’t change much.”
In response, Durant has claimed that he made his own decision and that tensions with Westbrook had been overstated. “”Nah, it wasn’t [a factor in me leaving],” Durant said. “I mean obviously [that alleged subplot is] coming out now [that] I’m gone, all these reports are going to come out. I can’t really control it, but I just made a decision based on where I wanted to go, man.”
We obviously can’t know what was said in private between Westbrook and Durant, but stories about their relationship will likely continue to dominate the NBA landscape for months to come.